Rules of origin for imported and exported goods

Tariff preferences


Once you have clarified the origin of the goods you're exporting or importing, you can find out if they qualify for preferential treatment under a tariff preference scheme.

There are two types of scheme:

  • autonomous or non-reciprocal schemes are only for imports into the European Community (EC) under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)
  • reciprocal schemes applying to both imports to the EC and exports from it

Read more about managing certification for preferential origin.

Ultimately, any preferential rate of duty will depend on there being preferential coverage for goods of that type between the importing and exporting countries - or between the EC and a third country - and the product:

  • meeting its relevant rule of origin
  • being wholly produced in the preference country or substantially manufactured there according to particular rules
  • not being subject to a quota which would limit the quantity of the product that can be brought in under preference

Once you have established the origin of the goods, you can check their customs classification, which will show you if the goods qualify for a preference scheme.

Access the UK Trade Tariff.

You can find an alphabetical list of all the countries that benefit from preferential treatment in Volume 1, Part 7 of the Tariff.

The UK Trade Tariff is the most up-to-date source of information on preferential agreements and the Commodity Code. It will also show if your product is liable to trade protection measures, such as anti-dumping duties or Common Agricultural Policy charges, which are often determined by the product's origin.

If you're an exporter, check with your customers and the customs authorities in the customer's market. You must also comply with general export procedures. Read more about exporting your goods outside the EU and dispatching your goods within the EU.

If you're an importer, you should check with HM Revenue & Customs. It is the importer's responsibility to ensure that the correct amount of duty is paid. You'll be liable for any unpaid or incorrectly paid duty for up to three years after the product has been imported.